Myanmar, waiting for a democratic government


Aristotle once said, “but one factor of liberty is to govern and be governed in turn; for the popular principle of justice is to have equality according to number, not worth, and if this is the principle of justice prevailing, the multitude must of necessity be sovereign and the decision of the majority must be final and must constitute justice, for they say that each of the citizens ought to have an equal share; so that it results that in democracies the poor are more powerful than the rich, because there are more of them and whatever is decided by the majority is sovereign. This then is one mark of liberty which all democrats set down as a principle of the constitution. And one is for a man to live as he likes; for they say that this is the function of liberty, inasmuch as to live not as one likes is the life of a man that is a slave. This is the second principle of democracy, and from it has come the claim not to be governed, preferably not by anybody, or failing that, to govern and be governed in turns; and this is the way in which the second principle contributes to equalitarian liberty.”

Democracy has played an important role since the days of the British rule over various countries. It has always been part of politics. The freedom struggle against the foreigners have left many countries remarkably democrat in nature. With the acceptance of democracy, the development at large has left its footprints in various sectors. Yet people in countries like Vietnam, China, Russia, North Korea and Myanmar are still struggling for their lives to be free from monarchical or military rule. Democracy means either equal access to power amongst the citizens or citizens to enjoy their freedom of living. But the stated country’s people are still facing difficulties in living their life freely. They are always in constant threat of the ruling government.

Myanmar the land of temples and varied cultural heritage fell under British hands during three Anglo-Burmese wars (1824-26, 1852 and 1885). Later, Japan occupied it in World War II. Since 1948 after it got independence, it is ruled by military, Tatmadaw. The government there executes its functions through dictatorship. The complete authoritarian government also known as State Peace Development Council (SPDC) has prevented a parliamentary government to form in Myanmar. Due to the suppressive policies of the military government many cases relating to human rights abuse have been reported by Human rights watch and Amnesty International. The country does not have any independent judiciary and thus the political activities are suppressed. Political activists who raise voice for democracy are sent to prison. The government has prevented people from getting free access to most of the sites. It has limited the access to sites like google, gmail, yahoo and hotmail and uses filtering software known as Fortinet. The military regime in Myanmar is continuously facing the world’s criticism.

Aung San Suu Kyi a noble laureate and the opposition leader have been under house arrest by the government. The only sin she committed was, she spoke for a democratic government and as the ultimate result she was put under house arrest. Thailand which has been in continuous friendly relation with the country has also criticized it well on account of Aung San Suu kyi’s case. Even though her trial is completed the regime has caused her to stay more by applying its dirty tricks on the political activist. Joseph Zeitlyn, a freelance journalist writes, “Like a crusade, the notion of ‘freeing Burma’ has entered the ‘evangelist’ western imagination.”

In order to prove that the government is the savior of its citizens, the military regime has revealed that it will be conducting a multi-party poll in the year 2010. Yet it has not been made clear whether the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi will be extended or not. It seems that the regime is scared of the political activist who can raise her voice against the government and mobilize Myanmarese citizens for a democratic status. In this regards ASEAN has also condemned the policies led by the Myanmar’s government.

India, the neighbouring country of Myanmar has interconnections with the country on account of its people, religion as well as political relationships. In 2001 “India-Myanmar Friendship Road” have been inaugurated which links both the countries. Both countries have joined hands on promoting bilateral trade, military cooperation, IT sector and land issues. In the year 2008 it has come up with ‘Kaladan Multimodel Transit Project’ which will connect India and Myanmar through roads. India promoting Myanmar in development sector is praiseworthy and it will be more praised when it will come up with solutions for a democratic government in the country. India’s silence on the military rule in Myanmar is rhetoric. The democratic countries should back up such countries like Myanmar. The joint operation of democratic governments and United Nations will help people living in such countries to come up with their right of living and right of freedom.

Sara Khan

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